Overview

Overview

A manufacturing employee met the requirements for Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a), (b)(3) class certification in an action against the employer for alleged violations of Cal. Lab. Code §§ 226, 226.7, and 512. The claims depended on a common contention that uniform policies were employed with respect to meal breaks and wages and that wage statements uniformly lacked information. Common issues related to the uniform policies predominated, and individual litigation was not a realistic alternative. Appellant was represented by a business attorney.

Outcome

Motion for class certification granted.

Procedural Posture

Plaintiff tax line employee sued defendant employer, alleging that the employer was violating California law by failing to pay overtime, provide meal periods and rest breaks, provide accurate itemized statements, and pay wages due when a proposed class member was discharged or resigned. The employee moved for class certification pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23.

Overview

The claims that the employee alleged, violations of various provisions of the California Labor Code and California’s Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq., were only available to those putative class members who were found to be nonexempt. Since the issue of exemption was not subject to common proof in the case, the employee could not show that common issues predominated, as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3). The employer’s evidence indicated that job duties varied between class members. The applicability of the administrative exemption was not subject to common proof as to, inter alia, whether the class members performed non-manual work directly related to management policies. The applicability of the professional exemption also was not subject to common proof given that the class members had a wide variety of advanced degrees, certificates, and training. A class action was not superior to individual suits where the putative class members had sufficient money incentive to pursue their own claims. Moreover, the predominance of individual issues made the class action unmanageable.

Outcome

The employee’s motion for class certification was denied.